E3 2017 is done and dusted, and I managed to get my hands on numerous titles over the last week. Here are a collection of my thoughts on the final games I saw during the show – ones that maybe didn’t have enough content to warrant a full preview, or were just interesting.
I got my hands on two different builds of the game. One followed a brief story quest, while the other had a heavy combat focus, throwing me into an arena battle against waves of enemies.
The control scheme and movement has seen a total overhaul. One of my main problems with each game was the momentum; despite being a nimble assassin, it always felt like you were treading through treacle. Ubisoft has now tweaked it, and you can turn and pivot on a dime. This has also been extended to mounted travel, which is far more responsive.
Combat is completely different too. Instead of long animations and constant counters, fights now share more in common with Dark Souls or Bloodborne. Locking on to an enemy raises your shield, and from there you can dash in lateral directions. If you time it right, you can also parry with your shield, making foes take extra damage. It was a little overwhelming at first, but by the end of my demo it came naturally.
I’m interested to see what impact this will have on mission structure though. Later games in the series often had you duking it out with multiple enemies at once – but they would often line-up politely for you. Here I was struggling against 3 enemies that were attacking me at the same time. If this means you’ll have to be more careful in your strategizing and execution, I think it will be a welcome change.
Ubisoft has also introduced boss enemies. The team member I talked to told me that each one has been crafted individually, and has their own unique set of moves.
Far Cry 5 is more of Far Cry 3 and 4. Not necessarily a bad thing – the open-world framework is still tight, and the shooting and crafting systems are fun. Changes have been made though, but unlike Assassin’s Creed Origins, they’re smaller and harder to see.
First up are towers – they’re gone. Maybe taking cues from the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you now must strike out into the wilderness to find points of interest on your own. The compass map has also been ditched, leaving more screen real-estate for the American countryside you’ll call your home.
The buddy system – which one of the game’s programmers shared that they took inspiration from Far Cry 2 – let’s you take an AI companion out with you. I decided to grab the dog because he’s 13/10, and a good boy. He can mark enemies automatically in the area, fetch discarded weapons and ammo, and you can also sic him on targets to keep them occupied.
Also, you can fish now. If that’s your thing.
Yo we heard you like the Nemesis system, so we put more Nemesis systems in your Nemesis System, so you can Nemesis System while you Nemesis system.
Sorry about that. I am now going to turn in my journalist badge and gun.
But developer Monolith really did just cram a bunch more features into the Nemesis system. While forging alliances and rivalries with different orc warlords was cool, I’m not convinced that adding more was the right approach – it could dilute the formula.
That added depth does ratchet up the amount they can do though. Formulating an army and using it to attack a keep is fun, and leads to these emergent stories of revenge, betrayal, conquest, and defeat.